I really enjoyed watching the Tony Awards this year, more so because it’s been awhile since I’ve caught them. Living far from the Great White Way where 43 productions opened this season, it’s an entertaining way to see who and what’s on stage. It also allows me to get a brief theatre fix. Presenters include those who’ve made their Broadway debut this past year and those who’ve been around the block and back. Among them for the Tony’s 63rd year were Angela Lansbury, Bebe Neuwirth, and Liza Minelli while Neil Patrick Harris hosted.
The full list of nominees may be viewed at the Tony Awards website, but those who received an award for their performances in plays and musicals were Roger Robinson (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone), Angela Lansbury (Blithe Spirit), Gregory Jbara (Billy Elliot), Karen Olivo (West Side Story), Geoffrey Rush (Exit the King), Marsha Gay Harden (God of Carnage), and Alice Ripley (Next to Normal). Also receiving recognition for their foot tapping performance as Billy Elliot were the three boys who are about 13-years old. While other nominees were Elton John and Dolly Parton, Best Score went to Tom Kitt and Brian Yorky for Next to Normal. Hair, Billy Elliot, the Norman Conquests, and God of Carnage received Tonys for best original and revival productions. Best Direction went to Matthew Warchus for God of Carnage and Stepehn Daldry for Billy Elliot. This year’s Special Theatrical Event went to Liza’s at the Palace. Equus‘s sound designer and other designers received their awards prior to the televised event. Recognized for his achievements in musical theatre was Jerry Herman, who wrote for Hello, Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, Mame, and several others.
Now the second actress to receive five Tonys, Angela Lansbury graciously said during her acceptance speech, “Since I’m standing here and you’re sitting there, I’ll take this opportunity to say it isn’t fair and congratulations to the other nominees.” The three Billy Elliots were speechless and stammering over themselves.
“The best of times is now”. ~Jerry Herman
The opening number was an ensemble of classic and new shows: Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Hair, 9 to 5, Shrek, and Rock of Ages. There were also performances of Hair‘s title song, “Sit Down You’re Rockin the Boat” from Guys and Dolls, Mama Mia‘s “Dancing Queen”, “You Don’t Know” from Next to Normal, the rumble in West Side Story, among others. Neil Patrick Harris sang a humorous closing number to the tune of West Side Story‘s “Tonight”:
“Tonight, tonight, the Tonys were tonight and Elton John’s Billy Elliot was the rave…this show could not be any gayer if Liza were named mayor and Elton John took flight. The curtain falls, I’m off to hit off some big Tony balls. Good night!”